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New evidence confirms Dalluhn Manuscript as Dungeons & Dragons prototype

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Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World, recently discovered a document he calls the "Mornard Fragments," named after a partial copy of a pre-publication working draft of Dungeons & Dragons owned by one of the original playtesters, Michael Mornard. The Mornard Fragments were typed, hand-edited, and photocopied by co-creator Gary Gygax, and their existence confirms that an earlier document discovered by Peterson, the Dalluhn Manuscript, was in fact a polished version of a working draft of the original role-playing game.

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The Dalluhn Manuscript, loaned by Peterson to the National Museum of Play, is two hand-typed volumes that takes its name from Keith Dalluhn, its previous owner. Peterson explains how the two documents are similar:

These Fragments have a good deal to teach us about the development of D&D, and handily they also establish that Dalluhn was in fact a polished version of such a working draft, incorporating the authors’ edits of the time for wider distribution, probably for playtesting... Because the Mornard Fragments show material so similar to the Dalluhn Manuscript, they are an excellent source for establishing that the Dalluhn Manuscript contains a system that Gary worked on; the other side of that coin, however, is that because they are so similar, the Fragments can only illuminate so much about the development of the system that Dalluhn hasn’t already shown us.

In light of this new evidence, Peterson is revising his original assessment of the Dalluhn Manuscript and writing an essay that collectively uses both documents to provide more insight about the origins of D&D.

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